13 Things a Movie Theater Employee Won’t Tell You

Find out behind the scenes info about your favorite place to see the next blockbuster.

By Ilana Strauss
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    1. Why does it smell so good? The popcorn has chemicals in it to make its aroma fill the theater.

    2. “Extreme Digital” is actually lower quality than IMAX digital. We use it because it’s easier to maintain.

    3. For the first month or two of screening, money from ticket sales goes to movie studios. Theaters rely on concession stands to make money. That’s why concessions are overpriced. Popcorn costs almost nothing to make.

    4. I know all the methods you use to sneak in. I just don’t always care enough to kick you out for it.

    5. The only foods I trust are the popcorn, drinks, and boxed candy. I wouldn’t eat the pretzels, hot dogs, or nachos.

    6. Chances are, if you complain to the manager and he sides with you, he’s just putting on a show to calm you down. The manager might pretend to yell at me for a minute, but he’ll pat me on the back the moment you’re out of sight.

    7. Combination deals don’t save you money at some theaters. You’d pay the same price if you purchased the items separately.

    8. Think you’re saving calories by ordering a small popcorn? That “small” popcorn could have been a medium last month.

    9. Stop getting angry that your food isn't ready. Microwaves can't cook frozen pizzas in 30 seconds!

    10. No, I can’t give you extra cups. Everything is inventoried at the end of the night.

    11. Your suspicions are correct. Sometimes I sweep excess food under the seats. Movies often end every few minutes. Sometimes, three or more screenings end at the same time. I don’t always have time to clean everything up.

    12 Yes, movies start late. But they almost always end on time – otherwise, the ushers wouldn’t know when to clean up. Theaters tell you to come in early so you have time to watch commercials and previews.

    13. Popcorn keeps for a day or two. Many customers confuse warm with fresh.

    Sources: Movie theater employees in California, Illinois, and Indiana


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    Your Comments

    • kj

      That “popcorn sits for a day or 2″ is totally wrong- I’m not sure what companies those people work at but at most professional theaters all popcorn gets thrown away every single night. And it’s TONS. It’s a wicked waste, but due to food laws and regulations it has to be done. (I used to work at a theater)

    • Jkhjhkjjh Jkhjhkjjh

      i was given an extra cup when i asked for it, so i could share a large soda with my friend….

    • Boarczar Zila

      The day old pop corn was fine, it was the horrible gross so called “butter” that really freaked me out. When I worked at a theater I lovingly called it “fish milk” for the rotten aroma it gave off.

    • invidinvasion

      Disqus sucks!

    • tillzen

      As a youth I lucked into a job driving the founder of Lowes theaters. He was then an older man and he had seen it all. We’d drive to advance or test screenings of films and based on what he saw he’d decide if the film was good enough to suit his theater’s needs. Once after seeing a very hyped film that was awful I asked him if he would save money knowing this big budget film was a stinker. Immediately he answered “Kid, good picture, bad picture it means peanuts to me. If I could make a another quarter on popcorn now that’d be real money!

    • Wooooooow

      the popcorn is expensive because the bags we put them in are just as expensive!

    • naoma

      I would never, ever eat MOVIE POPCORN. Have you really SMELLED THIS STUFF. I cannot sit near anyone eating it. Gagsville. That is not REAL BUTTER on it either.

    • tickedoffmoviegoer

      Nothing ticks me off more when they won’t give you an extra cup or container. So I just spent $32 on two large sodas and a large popcorn, which probably cost pennies to make, but I can’t get some sort of cup or container to share it?


      • resistancenow

        Bring a small bag or plastic bag to put popcorn in. You can get an extra paper tray too.

    • Joe blow

      Black people like to talk a lot and yell at the screen during movies. Get used to it.

    • daisymae

      Thanks for the laugh! This whole conversation is too funny, but thanks for the popcorn info. Or is that poopcorn.